Some people are just naturally talented. Gifted. Joacim Öhman, the man behind Abandoned House Collectibles, is one of those people. It’s almost frustrating how talented the guy is. The first time I came across the undeniably stunning collectibles AHC has to offer was in Bottrop/Germany during one of the annual editions of the Weekend of Horrors. I spent hours gazing upon every item displayed thinking to myself ”How the fuck did they manage to come up with this shit??”.
I would like to thank Joacim for being so extremely nice and cooperative while doing the interview. Thanks a lot it is much appreciated!
GEEKCITING!: Since starting Abandoned House Collectibles have you ever had any feedback, positive or negative, from anyone who worked on the actual movies your work is based on?
Joacim Öhman: Yeah, absolutely. One of the basic ideas behind AHC was to produce replicas and displays in a very small amount so it was natural for me to make special editions for conventions and custom orders. That way I also get to meet a lot of movie stars and childhood idols from my favorite movies. A dream come true! I have never come across anyone who has not been positive about AHC in fact it is quite the opposite! Several of the “celebrities” I’ve met have been very enthusiastic about what I do! It is very fun when they come to my booth, sign my stuff and ask questions like how I come up with the ideas, designs and how I make it! It is great that so many people I have met wanted things I made. For example Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees) wanted a couple of Friday the 13th masks I had made. That made me bow down in gratitude because he wanted them so much! It was the same with Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger) who was one of the first “big” stars I have met. As always he was very nice and when he saw our handmade Elm Street sign he inspected it and said ”I must have one of these! How can I get one?”. Robert and his wife ended up coming over to our booth and I was honoured to give him a sign that he would have in his house. So in summary, in all the years I have exhibited at trade shows and conventions, I have only received positive feedback from everyone I have met. Lance Henriksen, Sid Haig, Tom Mathews, Sean S. Cunningham, the stars from Friday the 13th and Hellraiser franchises… yeah, the list could go on! It is an awesome thing to be able to meet all those nice people and show them my stuff.
GC!: While you have an astounding array of different collectibles to offer the ones you are most famous for are probably the Jason Voorhees replica masks. How long does it take you to produce one of those said masks?
JÖ: It all depends on what I do with it. Most of the time I make a whole display with a mask. That can take from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. There are so many incredibly talented mask manufacturers out there who are better at making authentic masks than I am so to make something different I create my projects from scratch each and every time. I’m testing my ways and no display is the same. If I make a hand-made/hand-painted mask without display it takes about 2-3 days of work including the attachment of the leather straps. I never use airbrush so it takes longer than usual I guess. Sometimes it can take several days before I am satisfied with the mask alone so it is a long process every time.
GC!: What was the reason for you to start Abandoned House Collectibles? What was your motivation behind it?
JÖ: It’s a long story but it started with me buying a Jason Voorhees mask, (what else haha) from a guy on eBay. There was a nice background on the picture itself and I wanted to know what it was so I contacted him… His name is Marc. We started to talk about our common interest in movies. We had a lot in common and he mentioned that he had found an abandoned house in the woods nearby where he lived just outside of Stockholm. There he collected a lot of cool things he had made including some art and displays. I am a little strange when it comes to my ideas… they just randomly pop up so I said to Marc that it would be awesome to meet and see what we can make of it. We lived about 3,5 hours from each other so I went over for a weekend to meet this dude with all the “crap” that we could use. That was how it started. We bought a lot of movie props that we made displays for and began to show off our “artwork” on various conventions. We went separate ways after a time, but I continued with what we started together and I am grateful that the basic idea of Abandoned House Collectibles continues to this day. AHC has never been about making profit. It’s something I just like to get involved with. I like to produce and create. I am a cabinet-maker/carpenter in the first place so I have another job at daytime. AHC is what I’m doing in my spare time. I’m a big collector of replicas and collector items so it’s natural for me to get involved with anything film related! As long as it’s fun and there are those who enjoy what I create, I will in one way or another keep on creating!
GC!: Personally I first came across your work at a past edition of the Weekend of Horrors convention in Germany. Are events like those a business necessity or are those all just for fun?
JÖ: If I’m honest I have to say it is both. I mainly keep going to these shows and conventions for personal reasons. I want to find things for my collection and hang out with people with the same interests and just have fun. But if I can meet people who are interested in buying or seeing what I have made, then it’s extra fun. There is probably nothing better for someone who creates than this kind of recognition. It like someone in the music business doing a live gig. My ”live gigs” are conventions. It’s actually a big motivating and driving thing to be able to talk about my creations and to see other people’s reactions to my ideas.
GC!: Have you ever refused to fulfill a request for a custom-made item because you were uncomfortable with the request or simply because you felt it didn’t fit with what you have done before?
JÖ: Yes, it actually happens a lot that I say that I am not the right man for a certain job. I collaborate with other artists from time to time and those are the ones who are good at sculpting, making masks of silicone or latex. I recommend them instead. I have my particular style and there is no reason for me to try something I am not good at. One specific thing about AHC is that my style is a little more raw and not as polished.
GC!: What was your personal career highlight while running Abandoned House Collectibles?
JÖ: Mmm, good question. I do not really know but maybe it’s the first big Sci-Fi convention we exhibited at here in Sweden. But I am having a hard time choosing. The conventions we have visited in Germany have been fantastic! The Weekend of Horrors convention is “killer” and very fun to be at. Great experience! But if I think about it carefully, I remember how surprised and happy I was when Richard Brooker who played Jason Voorhees in part 3 contacted me claiming he liked a display I had done! The in my opinion first real slasher king liked what I had done. That was awesome! It is very sad that I never got to meet Richard before he passed away.
GC!: Where will our readers be able to meet you next and gaze upon your collectibles in the near future?
JÖ: I will try to come back to the Weekend of Horror convention in November but before that I have another cool thing coming up. A weekend here in Sweden called Blood Camp with Elm Studios in September. It will be a weekend filled with horror movies. Friends sitting around a campfire and having fun together. Maybe Jason himself will join us in the evening, who knows? Until then I will have a lot of new Friday the 13th displays ready. I think it will be a night to remember.
Intrigued? You should. Check out their Facebook page and gaze upon AHC‘s incredible collection of one of a kind replicas.